St. George Preca
Roman Rite Calendar - 05/09
Seventh in a Christian family of nine children, son of Vincent Preco and Nathalie Ceravolo. His father was a merchant and health inspector. A sickly child. Studied at the Lyceum and Major Seminary on Malta. A severe respiratory ailment in seminary nearly killed him; he recovered through the intercession of Saint Joseph. While still a student, he began writing a Rule in Latin for use in a planned society of Permanent Deacons. Ordained 22 December 1906.
After ordination he modified his concept of the society. He began teaching along the waterfront, working with the roughest of men. He gathered a group of young male catechests, including the Servant of God Eugene Borg, and they formed the beginning of the Society of Christian Doctrine at Hamrun, Malta in 1907. The Society's motto is represented by the letters M.U.S.E.U.M.: Magister Utinam Sequator Evangelium Universus Mundus! (Master, that the whole world would follow the Gospel!, and were dedicated to bringing the Bible and theology to lay people and the working classes.
Educating the working class was so revolutionary that Father George was accused of insanity, and was once ordered to shut down his operation. He caused more uproar with his plan to educate lay men and women, and send them out to proclaim God's word anywhere that would listen.
Society catechist centers opened in many parishes, teaching young and old, and giving children a place to stay out of trouble. Their teaching brought a deeper understanding of the faith to people who simply went through the motions of devotions, often without knowing why. The bishop of Malta approved the Society and its Rule in 1932.
Father Preca taught and wrote in Maltese, the language of the common people. From leaflets to books, George published approximately 150 works. He had a special devotion to the Mystery of Incarnation. Popular preacher, sought after confessor, and believed to have been a healer. The Society continues its work today with Centres in Malta, Australia, Sudan, Kenya, Peru, Great Britain, and Albania.
12 February 1880 at Valletta, Malta
evening of 26 July 1962 of natural causes at Santa Venera, Malta
relics near the Society's motherhouse at Blata l-Bajda
28 June 1999
9 May 2001 by Pope John Paul II
his beatification miracle involved the healing of an irreversibly detached retina of a member of the Society
3 June 2007 by Pope Benedict XVI
All information used with permission of the Patron Saint Index.
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